Treating Violence

Violence isn’t done by this group or that group, but by humanity. And it’s done in different ways by different people. Sometimes it’s done by brutality, sometimes by economic unfairness, sometimes by militarism, sometimes by selfish neglect. Coming against a group won’t solve violence. That becomes another form of scapegoating, which produces horrendous violence. Treating our own hearts will help. Looking at the violence in our own competition and relationships where we try to win over others is a start.

The “Ministry of NO” doesn’t solve violence. This means saying to others… “No, you can’t do this or that. And if you do we will take this or that action against you.” It’s all “NO.” Apart from the “NO” we say every day, the other people are largely ignored as we get on with our own life in our own group.  This recipe has one inevitable outcome: strife.

It’s in treating others like humans, like we would like to be treated ourselves, that we begin to move towards an answer. They have needs. They have reasons for their behaviour. We can begin to find out some of these reasons, at least for some of the people, and try to find ways of helping. In this way we are saying “YES” to the people. A “YES” is always better and more productive and more healing than a “NO”. At the very least a “YES” involves us in the lives of others and brings us together. Maybe youth don’t have education or job opportunities and no one cares for them. There are lots of ways in which people can be frustrated. Compassion can help us find these ways.

This was a large part of what Jesus taught in the Gospels: pre-empting violence by care for others. Treating violence with its opposite. Violence isn’t overcome by saying “NO”, but by saying “YES”. It is overcome as we follow what Paul taught: “Let each us not only look out for our own things, but also for the things (needs, opportunities) of others.” It’s moving away from just caring for our own group, from the alliances we make to protect ourselves, which divide us from others, and starting to care for our whole community.

Peace is the result of community wholeness.